35 Days Later: What Happened to Streets of New Capenna?

Winston Atkinson
June 07, 2022


At the time of writing, it's been 35 days since Streets of New Cappena was released. Following the return to Kamigawa in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, SNC had big shoes to fill. On top of an excellent Limited experience in both draft and sealed, NEO offered powerful upgrades to the Naya Runes shell that's been around since Kaldheim. From the Planeswalkers Kaito Shizuki and The Wandering Emperor, to the uncommon sagas like Fable of the Mirror Breaker and Michiko's Reign of Truth, to the core of an entire deck in Jeskai Hinata, NEO has left its mark on the Standard metagame.

Kaito Shizuki (NEO) 

This is all to say, a month after SNC's release, we aren't seeing the same impact again. Not to say there aren't some stand out cards- Titan of Industry is finding a home in some of the mono-green aggro decks, and the red-black Vampires shell from Innistrad: Crimson Vow has fitted solidly into Grixis with the inclusion of Corpse Appraiser. The Demon heads of each crime family are getting respectable play at mid-to-low levels of play. (Minus Xander, who's been sent to the command zone for his prohibitive cost.) But despite this, SNC's biggest contributions to the format seem to be in the sideboard.

Titan of Industry (SNC)

Disdainful Stroke and Make Disappear are both 1-to-2 of in most sideboards rubbing blue. Grixis Vampires forgoes a playset of Evelyn, the Covetous to fit in two planeswalkers from NEO, with the rest of the copies staying in the sideboard. Some decks have not even bothered with Streets, like some of the Jeskai Dragons decks.

So, what happened? By this point in NEO's lifespan, the first Jeskai Hinata decks were taking wing on the ladder and in organized events. 35 days into Kaldheim everyone was being blown out to Doomskar and Esika's Chariot was running over people. It's possible that Streets of New Cappena needs more time to properly develop the metagame. Many of the exciting, powerful, pack-pushing rares and mythics seemed designed for Commander and Pioneer, both of which are formats with faster mana and access to the upper end of SNC's curve. The lower CMC options have also waned in power from previous sets, and the new keywords feel more tuned for Draft play. While the set offers some upgrades for a deck here or there in the format, there hasn't really been any breakout decks built around the new mechanics Streets of New Cappena offers. Of all the new keywords, Casualty seems the most strong, but hardly seems like it could carry a deck on its own. Connive and Blitz feel as though they lack the recurral and graveyard support, and seem to be more prevalent in Commander with the larger card pool. The only Alliance cards to make a serious impact seems to be Gala Greeters, though there is fantastic rogue (read: meme) deck appeal in Devilish Valet.

Maybe SNC will face a similar fate as Strixhaven: a low-power support set that will shore up as more powerful sets rotate out. Personally, Streets of New Cappena has left a lasting impression with some of the most striking art in the modern MtG era, but I can't say the same for its playability in Standard. Something had to follow up Neon Dynasty, and maybe I'll be proven wrong as the metagame develops.